COVID-19: Shop online and get free, no‑contact delivery, Specialist help, and more.

Open post

Prosthetic Hand Builds Street Cred and a Lasting Friendship

Intel Images: Oregon Intel Employee Helps Boy with 3D-Printed Prosthetic

Eight-year-old Henry Hunker met Intel’s Wayne Waterman six years ago, when Waterman used his 3D printer to make a prosthetic hand for Henry, who was born with an underdeveloped one.

In kindergarten and first grade, bullies sometimes teased Henry about his missing limb.

But things have changed in third grade. Henry came up with a design to resemble a dragon and Waterman turned it into reality.

“When I made Henry his first hand, it was because he was missing a hand,” said Waterman, a webcast infrastructure architect in Intel’s Information Technology Group in Hillsboro, Oregon. “When I made him the second hand, it was because it gave him some street cred at school.”

More: All Intel Images

Open post

To the moon and beyond: How HoloLens 2 is helping build NASA’s Orion spacecraft

When workers for Lockheed Martin began assembling the crew seats for a spacecraft designed to return astronauts to the moon and pave the way for human exploration to Mars, they had no need for paper instructions or tablet screens to work from.

Everything they needed to see — from animations of how pieces fit together to engineering drawings to torque values for tightening bolts — was visible in HoloLens 2 devices that they wore.

The mixed reality headsets left their hands free to manipulate hardware. Voice commands guided them through every step, with holographic instructions overlaid on the relevant parts of the four seats that will be installed inside the crew module of the Orion spacecraft, which Lockheed Martin is building to support NASA’s Artemis program to carry humans to the moon and beyond.

“They didn’t have to refer back to a computer screen or paper drawings during that entire activity,” said Shelley Peterson, Lockheed Martin principal investigator for augmented and mixed reality. “Out on the shop floor they can put on the HoloLens 2 device, power it up, and it has all the content that they need to figure out how to do that task overlaid right there on the structure.”

Building a spacecraft requires millions of tasks, each with zero room for error, from attaching electrical cables in the correct pathways to lubricating joints and precisely locating thousands of tiny devices that measure how the craft performs under stress.

Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor building Orion, has employed HoloLens 2 on a variety of assembly tasks for the spacecraft that will be used in NASA’s Artemis II mission, the first to carry a crew of astronauts aboard Orion.

For some jobs that require lots of precise measuring by hand ­— such as marking locations for hundreds of fasteners on Orion’s spacecraft adapter jettison fairings — technicians using holographic instructions have finished those repetitive tasks 90 percent faster. The mixed reality headsets have also all but eliminated assembly mistakes, Peterson said. Lockheed Martin has experienced zero errors or rework requests on tasks in which workers were assisted by HoloLens headsets, which the company first deployed at the end of 2017, she said.

“The fact that we haven’t had any errors across all of these activities is phenomenal,” said Peterson, who oversees the company’s mixed reality initiatives.

“Usually when we’re considering new technologies we’re asking if there’s improved quality, if it’s faster or if it’s less expensive, and most people say you can only get two out of the three because there are always tradeoffs. What we’re finding with the HoloLens 2 is that we can hit all three, which is pretty unique,” Peterson said.

At its Ignite conference on Sept. 22, Microsoft announced it is expanding the global availability of HoloLens 2, which is now available for purchase in Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, Austria, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Portugal, Poland, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

YouTube Video

“We are super inspired to see what people are doing in the wild with HoloLens, and we are very excited that we have enough supply worldwide to bring it to this next set of regions,” said Microsoft Technical Fellow Alex Kipman.

The company also announced the private preview of a new mixed reality service called Azure Object Anchors. It allows HoloLens devices to recognize an object in the real world and map relevant instructions or visuals onto it without requiring any expert knowledge or barcodes to line those things up.

If an automaker wants to help a car owner do a simple repair job at their house using mixed reality, for instance, it’s more helpful for the owner to put on a headset and see an arrow pointing right to the oil pan gasket that needs to be removed, rather than asking a novice car mechanic to locate the gasket among all the other engine parts and then start following instructions, Kipman said.

“It’s a very hard computer vision problem, but the ability to recognize an object in the real world and then graft and map holograms onto it adds a tremendous amount of value,” he said.

Since HoloLens 2 began shipping to customers last November, Microsoft has continued to see demand for the device and Azure mixed reality services, Kipman said, especially in a time when remote collaboration is essential to help limit the spread of COVID-19.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Remote Assist, for instance, allows people in two different physical locations to collaborate and solve problems in a shared mixed reality environment. If a firstline worker assembling a spacecraft, airplane or truck finds an obstruction where the next piece of hardware needs be installed, an engineer in another room or city can see through the worker’s HoloLens 2 exactly what the problem is and offer advice on how to adjust.

Health care providers treating COVID-19 patients at the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust in England are using HoloLens 2, Remote Assist and Microsoft Teams to minimize potential exposure to the virus. One doctor wearing a mixed reality headset can treat the patient in person, while the device sends a secure live video feed to a computer screen in a neighboring room. That allows other members of the healthcare team to see everything that doctor sees while remaining at a safe distance.

Mercedes-Benz USA is using HoloLens 2 headsets to help service technicians at its dealerships more quickly and efficiently repair vehicles. Using Remote Assist, they can troubleshoot a problem in real time by easily tapping into the company’s vast network of remote specialists with deep expertise across various car lines.

“In some industries, we’ve seen companies become willing to take the leap much faster,” Kipman said. “In a socially distanced time where travel can be risky, it’s much easier to just teleport there and see things through the eyes of the operators. Before that sounded kind of cool, like something out of a science fiction novel, but now it’s really a necessity.”

“Travel is really difficult right now, and if we can avoid just one troubleshooting trip, that HoloLens is worth it,” said Colin Sipe, an Orion and Human Landing Systems senior manager for Lockheed Martin.

The company also began seeing significant time and cost savings when technicians no longer had to break from their tasks to look at manuals or type on a computer screen, which may require crawling through tight spaces or taking off clean room gear. For a critical job like assembling the heat shield that keeps astronauts safe as they re-enter Earth’s atmosphere, written instructions are so complex that they can add up to 30 pounds’ worth of paperwork, Sipe said.

“Typically, it turns out that about half of their time is spent reviewing drawings, reviewing steps and entering data into the computer, and only about half of their time is spent turning wrenches and putting parts together,” he said. “With HoloLens, we’ve been able to reduce the amount of time that they spend dealing with or processing that data overhead by about 90 percent.”

For instance, as part of critical verification processes, technicians often have to put down their tools and walk back to a computer workstation and type in information about the step they’ve just completed. With the HoloLens 2, they can use a simple voice command to have the headset take a picture or record a video — which can be used for validation, quality assurance or training purposes — without having to break their flow.

The people who build the spacecraft also enjoy using the HoloLens 2, which allows them to focus on the work they really like to do, Sipe said. Some have even delayed retirements to spend more time working on Orion.

“They don’t particularly like digging through technical documents to find out what kind of primer to put on this particular part. They like to build stuff and work with their hands, and with the HoloLens 2 they’re able to spend almost all day doing just that,” he said. “They really feel like they’re working on a spacecraft of the future.”

Top image: Technicians used HoloLens 2 devices to assemble the crew module seats, similar to these seats in a mockup of the Orion spacecraft, for the first Orion mission to carry astronauts into space. Image courtesy of NASA.

Open post

New Apple Watch and iPad features enable wellness, fitness, and creativity

Today Apple unveiled Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE, two new iPad models, and the first fitness experience built for Apple Watch that brings significant developments in health and wellness features to iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV. From innovative chip developments with A14 Bionic to new apps and software, and the debut of Apple One subscription plans, here are some of Apple’s biggest reveals today.

Apple Watch Series 6: Blood Oxygen Sensor and App

Apple Watch Series 6 expands the health capabilities of previous Apple Watch models with a new feature that measures the oxygen saturation of the user’s blood, so they can better understand their overall fitness and wellness. Oxygen saturation, or SpO2, represents the percentage of oxygen being carried by red blood cells from the lungs to the rest of the body, and indicates how well this oxygenated blood is being delivered throughout the body.
A GIF showing the new Blood Oxygen app on Apple Watch Series 6.
All data will be visible in the Health app, and the user will be able to track trends over time to see how their blood oxygen level changes.

Apple Watch SE and Apple Watch Series 6: Always-on Altimeter

The next-generation always-on altimeter provides real-time elevation all day long by using a new, more power-efficient barometric altimeter, along with GPS and nearby Wi-Fi networks. This feature allows for the detection of small elevation changes above ground level, up and down to the measurement of 1 foot, and can be shown as a new watch face complication or workout metric.
Ground elevation displayed on the Apple Watch Series 6.
The always-on altimeter provides real-time elevation all day long.

Family Setup

For the first time, Apple Watch can be set up through a parent’s iPhone with Family Setup, so kids can connect with family and friends through phone calls and Messages, stay motivated with personalized Activity goals, and express their creativity through custom Memoji. Parents have the ability to approve all contacts, so kids can safely use the communication features of Apple Watch.
Family Setup feature displayed on iPhone 11 Pro, Apple Watch SE, and Apple Watch Series 6.
Family Setup in watchOS 7 brings Apple Watch features to family members who don’t have an iPhone.

Apple Fitness+

Apple Fitness+ intelligently incorporates metrics from Apple Watch for users to visualize right on their iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV, offering a first-of-its-kind personalized workout experience. When a workout is selected and started on any of those devices, the correct workout type will automatically start on Apple Watch. During the session, the metrics from Apple Watch are shown on the screen and come to life for moments of inspiration.
iPhone 11 Pro displaying a studio workout in Apple Fitness+.
The Apple Fitness+ trainers are warm, welcoming specialists in their fields who work together to help people achieve their fitness goals.

Apple One Subscription Plan

Apple One offers customers Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, iCloud, and more in one simple plan. The Apple One Individual plan offers a savings of over $6 per month, while the Family plan offers a savings of over $8 per month, and the Premier plan offers a savings of over $25 per month. Savings are based on standard monthly pricing.
A family shot of MacBook Pro, iPad Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro.
Starting this fall, customers will be recommended the Apple One plan that saves them the most money based on the subscriptions they already have, so they can get even more for less.

New iPad

For the first time on iPad, the A12 Bionic chip introduces the Neural Engine for next-level machine learning capabilities, including people occlusion and motion tracking in augmented reality (AR) apps, enhanced photo editing, Siri performance, and more.
Photo editing on the new eight-generation iPad.
The new iPad with the A12 Bionic chip performs up to six times faster than the top-selling Chromebook.

New iPad Air

Now available in five gorgeous finishes — including rose gold, green, and sky blue — iPad Air features an all-screen design with a larger 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display, camera and audio upgrades, a new integrated Touch ID sensor in the top button, and the powerful A14 Bionic chip for a massive boost in performance.
A family shot of the new iPad Air in sky blue, green, rose gold, silver, and space gray.
The new iPad Air features a completely new thin and light design in five gorgeous finishes, including sky blue.
Scroll to top